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How Often Do Teachers Dream About Schools? (And other stories of the week...)

3 June 2019

We are back to school again! Hope you had a great half-term. Over the week over 5,000 of you gave us your views on things as diverse as dreams, summer holidays, and just how many of you are doing a curriculum overhaul.

Hold onto your seats, it’s this week’s results….

1. School Dreams

Are you back to school today? Many of you couldn’t get away! Last week, 53% of you had at least one dream about school.

But who is finding is the hardest to escape? Women dream about school more than men – which is consistent with another question we often ask about how hard you find it to sleep through the night due to worry.

Early career teachers are particularly prone to dreaming about school – perhaps once you’ve been around a while the need to process your day occurs much less. It does mean that new teachers are likely spending a lot of hours surrounded by school though, and aren’t even escaping when resting.

As your career progresses, dreaming about school fades… UNLESS you become a headteacher.

Then you have a whole load of new things to worry about! So, the message is clear: if you want to keep school out of your dreams, stay in the classroom!

2. Teacher Anxiety

Holidays are less stressful than work, right? OF COURSE THAT’S TRUE. But to what extent is it true?

Back amid the last half-term we asked how anxious you were feeling. Back then, 17% of you were totally chill and not anxious at all. Zoom forward to half-term and that figure was 42%!

At the other end of the scale, the proportion of teachers feeling completely anxious more than halved during half-terms.

Hence, while it is true that many things in people’s lives cause anxiety, it seems pretty clear that school has a huge effect too.

We wondered if some teachers had more significant changes than others during the holiday, those with a purple score became more anxious in the holidays, and those with dark green became happier in the holidays.

Most teachers are green – that is, happier in the holidays…

… But a glut of secondary independent school teachers seem more anxious outside of term-time. Any ideas?

3. Stationery Matters

We hear SO MUCH on twitter about how some glue sticks are better than others, that we felt compelled to check how important are glue sticks to your job?

One in three teachers really cares about the quality of glue sticks, but – when push comes to shove – the rest of you have other priorities.

Let’s set the scene: IMAGINE, your headteacher says they’re going to get the cheapest stationery items from now on but ONE thing can be sourced based on quality alone. What do you save?

GLUE STICKS are the clear winner. BUT…

This changes at secondary schools, with exercise book quality beloved of English and Humanities teachers, and maths teachers particularly fussed about the quality of their whiteboard pens.

Sticky notes don’t seem that important, though. There’s one to save your cash on!

4. Where do teachers go on summer holiday?

Teachers must organise when booking a summer holiday since they are competing with families for expensive flights and accommodation. Despite the cost, a third of you have booked a holiday abroad already, and another 14% expect to do so. The rest of you are staying in the UK, and 1-in-5 of you plan to stay at home all summer.

Who is going where? Teachers in their twenties – who are less likely to have elderly parents or young children – are most likely to be heading abroad. But the proportion who will be at home throughout the summer doesn’t vary by age.

Staying at home is excellent. It is also cheap, and teachers haven’t seen much of a pay rise for almost a decade now.

Teachers with senior leadership responsibilities seem to be feeling the squeeze the most – with them much less likely than headteachers to be going abroad and much more likely to be at home all summer.

5. Curriculum Changes: Major Restructures!

If you find yourself stuck at home over the summer, why not plan a new curriculum? Again!

Since we asked last year, the number of you planning a curriculum is slowly ticking up with almost 4-in-10 teachers saying they’re facing a major restructure.

Maths teachers are least likely to be making major changes – perhaps no surprise since this whole knowledge-led curriculum stuff doesn’t affect them so much.

And it seems logical that those of you who teach in schools with lower progress statistics feel more pressure to review what you do.

Is this all about Ofsted? Well… the comparison with the independent sector is interesting here since they aren’t so sensitive to policy diktats. Many teachers in private schools are planning curriculum reform, but certainly far fewer than in the state sector.

An alternative driving force could be money ??

State schools are increasingly struggling after years of funding erosion, but private schools are also feeling the pinch, with many struggling over pension increases and flat fees. Could it be that the significant reason for restructuring is to nudge some subjects out and reduce the staff bill? We will be keeping an eye and letting you know if this looks to be the case.

Finally, we know you love the tips, so here they are for last week…

And don’t forget to tell your teaching colleagues all about Teacher Tapp!

We’ve even got a poster to put in your staffroom